I’m late in posting on Infinite Jest, and it looks like some people might have actually checked on this site since I mentioned that I’d be turning into a journal on IJ starting June 21. Well, I’ve been reading and writing a lot elsewhere so this has taken a back seat. This will be brief, but I’m not going to neglect the summer journal completely.

When I first started reading Infinite Jest, I was really reading into it and trying to interpret or guess the meaning of certain events. For example, when Hal goes on and on about what a voracious reader he is and that he doesn’t just read, but he also thinks and feels, and it appears as though he’s having a seizure… Well, I immediately started wondering whether he was physically incapable of articulating all these thoughts. Instead, it seemed like his attempt to get this all out came out as a seizure. Hal then says he can’t make himself clear and says, “Call it something I ate.” We’re then told about an incident in which Hal was a child and unable to articulate his thoughts after eating a chunk of mold. I can see the symbolism, but I also wondered whether the eating of the mold caused some sort of lasting effect on Hal and ultimately caused his seizures. That’s when I started thinking, “Okay, I’m reading way too much into this. Why don’t I just wait and see what’s actually happening? Why don’t I trust the author like everyone has been saying?”

I stopped analyzing every little thing and went on with it, paying close attention but not looking for some deeper meaning to it all. Not just yet, anyway. More on the other characters tomorrow.

The other day I became bored (surprise) and decided to hop on Omegle. I typically find morons or people who don’t speak English very well, whether they are native speakers or not. To my surprise, there was one person who seemed engaging enough and somehow our conversation turned to “science.” It didn’t take long for him to discover, by asking, that I am an atheist just after I figured out he was a creationist based on a question posited to me about genetics.

I’m not an expert, but the sciences, both physical and biological, have been an obsession of mine since childhood. I can confidently say that I have a better working understanding of physics, biology and astronomy (maybe some chemistry) than most non-science majors. (Of course, explaining some of these issues to the guy on Omegle, or anyone else trying to understand basic scientific principles, becomes difficult when they can’t grasp the math involved.)

He asked, “Can you give a single example in which mutation has shown an increase in genetic information?” I wasn’t born yesterday, asshole. The question is flawed because it presupposes the fact that it can’t be answered. (Much like the challenge “Prove to me there is no god.”) There are also elements of the question that need to be further defined, such as the notion of an “increase in information.” Luckily, an expert has already answered this question in depth for me.

I had to end the conversation. It was just another creationist masking his intentions by appearing to make a sincere effort in discovering truths when he was alluding to the fact that a god must have been responsible for all things living (and non-living).

Then it struck me.

Through the years, while examining every single philosophical and scientific argument for or against atheism, it dawned on me that I was clinging to facts that would never be accepted by a creationist or theist. It didn’t matter how much scientific fact I presented or studied. It also doesn’t matter that some of the questioned posed defied logic (from both camps for their own purposes). A creationist or theist is never willing to concede the possibility that they might be wrong. Never.

So, here is my concession: I give you theists everything. Evolution is fake – both micro and macro. The Big Bang didn’t really happen. Things didn’t just appear from nowhere; they must have been created. Christ really did exist and he really did perform miracles. Everything I have fought tooth and nail for, it’s yours.

Now, tell me, how does that prove there is a god?

In 9 days, this blog will turn into my own journal for the Infinite Summer project/book club. I’ll be reading along and possibly joining in the conversation as well as chronicling my thoughts on the reading here. Let the fun begin!

Join us, won’t you?

Where is writing, journalism and blogging going? For years, bloggers and journalists have been at each other’s throats. Bloggers accuse journalists of being old fashioned and outdated. Journalists lambast bloggers for lacking quality and, quite often, facts. In order to survive, bloggers must produce a myriad of posts per day – usually brief snippets of information, 500 words or less (on average). Breaking news is hit by bloggers first because of the immediacy and accessibility of the Internet. In the event of an earthquake, shooting or some other disaster, the last few years have proven that bloggers get the word out first.

The problem with bloggers, however, is that quality is sometimes lacking. Since anyone can own and operate a blog, content can become disorganized and spelling and grammar aren’t always perfect. Without editors and copy editors, you might be receiving your news from a 14-year-old giving his or her account of an event. Of course, larger and more reputable blogs have editors and capable writers, but they still sometimes suffer under the pressure of generating instantaneous news.

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Go away.

And in other news:

Hipsters are considered apathetic, pretentious, and self-entitled by other, often marginalized sectors of society they live amongst, including previous generations of bohemian and/or “counter-culture” artists and thinkers as well as poor neighborhoods of color.

From Wikipedia’s entry on hipsters. Self-righteous bastards.

“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of the town. They shall say to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death…” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

I describe this blog as “musings on multiple matters,” but somehow I’ve neglected to writing about my two biggest passions in life: Sports and music. So, I’ve decided to go ahead and include that here so that I can share some of the things I’ve learned and experienced with whoever reads this blog. I’ve played piano all my life, guitar and drums since I was 13, and I occasionally fiddle with the bass. For sports, I played basketball and volleyball in high school (had aspirations to play college and beach volleyball) and after high school I played competitive tennis. To start, I’m going to give a few tips on improving your piano ability so that you can enjoy playing a little more. So, hit the “more” link and let’s get started!

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We’ve come a long way since that ad above might have been acceptable. If it, or anything similar to it, were reproduced today, well, it’s pretty obvious that the backlash would be indescribable. There was a time when women weren’t allowed to speak in public, vote, or to work where men worked. Just this past election, a woman ran for the office of President. Times have changed and women are slowly, but surely, being recognized as equal to men. Or are they? Does sexism still exist when women can hold public office, lead companies as executives, fly into space, and serve as some of the most respected and iconic figures of our time? I was sparked to write this after reading a brief post on feminism from a site, appropriately enough, called Superfem. (Since a particular post moved me to writing this, I might be referencing it a few times and offer my opinions and disagreements.) The answer to the question about sexism is yes. Yes, sexism still exists and it’s much worse than we think.

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Okay, so here’s the plan. You know that gazillion dollars (actual dollar amount adjusted for ridiculousnessocity) going to AIG for bonuses? The New York Times says we should totally pay them! Why? Well, it’s in the contracts! It wouldn’t bode well for other agencies and institutions if we started breaking these contracts for frivolous reasons (you know, like a shitty economy and a depressing financial climate caused by said agencies and institutions). So, if I hired someone to do some house sitting for me and I promised them $100 for it, I should have to pay it – no matter what. If my house is burned down by the house sitter by accident, I’ll pay anyway. A promise is a promise, right?

Thank heaven for The New York Times. For a second there, I was beginning to think that bonuses were typically performance based or a reward for performance – not a contractual obligation. So, if you fuck up somewhere along the road, maybe a bonus should be reconsidered. I guess you learn something new every day.

NYT also says we should pay because AIG, the ones responsible for a good chunk of the current financial hiccup, might be able to fix the problem. That’s right – the ones who caused a great deal of headaches are the same professionals that are best suited to get us out of this mess. We have every incentive to pay them these bonuses! Do you remember the house sitter who burned my house down? I should give him or her way more money to fix it and hope he or she doesn’t burn it down again in the future.

Get this garbage from Ed Liddy, AIG’s installed chief exec:

“We cannot attract and retain the best and brightest talent to lead and staff the company if employees believe that their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury.”

Sweetness. Now do you see what I mean? Feeding these giants with taxpayer money is an absolute necessity and the evil government is arbitrarily adjusting their compensation. We don’t need to know what he means by arbitrary because to ask would be, well, arbitrary. Right? It’s only $165 million. Just let them have it already.

Remember, the executives who will be receiving $3 million each also have families to feed and children to send to college. Liberals need to stop their selfishness.

I just had to post this picture because it made me laugh so hard. It’s great.